What’s the Point in Learning Personality Type? – Getting Along in a Dangerous World

“We need more understanding of human nature. The only real danger that exists is man himself.”
-Carl Jung



Personality type is about people—not puzzles.

I often think that if Carl Jung could come back to the world today and see where we’ve taken his ideas, he’d be as shocked as Jesus would be if he came back to the First Methodist Church here in Mason City to see how his teachings played out—or if Moses dropped into a local synagogue in Queens to see how the congregants are explaining the Torah. 

Personality Type Table or Rubik’s Cube?


At the Socrates Club that meets in a back room in the Mason City Library, we think that Carl Jung might just say that a lot of us missed the point in why we do personality type anyway. Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers, practical people that they were, would also have a thing or two to say.

I’m finding, however, that many people turn the boxes of Personality Type Table into the complexity of a Rubik’s Cube. There is no doubt about it that the two-pound brain that each one of us houses in our craniums is a center for complexity, which science is only beginning to explain. The Jungian/Myers-Briggs theory is the most effective tool for understanding the mind that I have ever found. 

Now I’m proud to be a person who can solve the Rubik’s Cube. I heard about someone who did it the other day in 11.3 seconds, and that’s way too fast for me. Here in Mason City, Iowa, we have time to solve the Rubik’s Cube and I’ve spent many a happy hour doing just that. Being able to do the Rubik’s Cube, unfortunately, has never gotten me promoted to head librarian, but that’s another story I’ll tell you later.

High Stakes Reasons for Personality Type  


The basic reason for creating personality type was not to devise a system that would be great fun for really smart people to talk about, explain, and impress each other. I find someone has a new level of complexity to add to type theory every time I go on line to participate in online personality type groups. The language is so complex that often the conversation is way beyond my pay grade.

War, Conflict, Confusion, and Personality Type—a Personality Type Community “Manhattan Project?”

The reason Jung developed his theories about human personality was that he was searching for clues about human nature—why don’t people get along? Why do nations go to war? Why do people harm each other?  Why do they argue, fight, and belittle each other? Why do I do that?

President Franklin Roosevelt put together one of the best kept secrets in history when he authorized the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb, which set the climate of human relations for the next 50 years with the atomic threat of world annihilation. This threat is now surpassed by the threat of a person with an explosive on his back in a large public place.

I’m just a small town assistant librarian, but I have a big proposal. Let the type community put together its own Manhattan project to research ways that personality type can end personal strife and strife between nations. I’m tired of cold and abstract discussions between intellectuals and aficionados who have no “skin in the game.” They don’t have an organization that will live or die depending on whether the people inside it get along. They don’t particularly see a connection with personality type and their own interpersonal relationships.

I find complex ideas interesting and exciting, but I’m concerned about my relationship with you—and the human race. We need to be leaders who are passionate about the potential of personality type to help people.